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Thursday, April 16, 2009

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex, Part 2 Continued (The "How-To")

*Habakkuk discussion day at the forum! Join us!

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex, Part 1 - Fear

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex, Part 2 (Why and When)

How on earth do you start a conversation about sex with an eight year old?

I don't know, I've never done it, but thankfully many others have. Here are some tips I have gathered (remember, these are just suggestions):

Build Anticipation

Make the up-coming talk something to look forward to...a special secret that is about to be divulged. A month before your child's eighth birthday start building the anticipation by telling them you have a very special secret to share with them about one of the most amazing and awesome things in the world. They will beg you to give them a hint. Tell them how excited you are to tell them all about it, but they just have to wait a little longer. As the day nears, keep the anticipation alive.

Plan A Special Day

Perhaps their eighth birthday? If you are going to use the "building the anticipation" strategy, tell them they may pick out a special restaurant to eat at that night where they will get to learn about the secret. If you are uncomfortable about a public setting, just make sure you pick a place where other siblings won't be around, especially younger ones. Remember, this is a very special occasion...share with one child at a time.

Mom and Dad Please

Both parents should sit down with their child to talk about sex, at least for the "mechanics" talk. You and your husband are a team and you both should be present to explain things. As the child begins puberty, on-going talks should be done mother to daughter, father to son.

Yes, The Whole Shebang

It may be helpful to use a book while explaining sex to your child (or at least having read one yourself to give you some confidence). One that I have been referred to is "Where Did I Come From." Apparently it's somewhat of a classic. Personally, I'm all about the God's Design For Sex Series (see bottom of post under resources).

"Emphasize that sex was God's idea, and that He created it to bring great joy to people who use the gift the way He intended - within marriage between a man and a woman. Understand that your children are sexual beings from the day they're born, and that the changes they go through during puberty as they mature are normal and positive changes. Help them accept and embrace the wonderful way God created them..." Whitney Hopler, How To Talk With Your Kids About Sex

There Will Be Questions

You may be at the restaurant all night! That's okay, plan on it. Answer your child's questions freely and honestly but keep in mind their innocence. Use discernment with your words. With this in mind, don't shy away from certain topics that deserve an answer. For example, if your child brings up something they've seen that's pornographic, discuss it with them lovingly, being careful not to divulge too much too soon, but letting them know that there is a good side and a bad side to sex. Pornography is showing sex in a light that isn't beautiful and awesome. I highly recommend the book Point Man for an excellent way to handle talking to your son about pornography.

Other Age Ranges For Discussions

Puberty: 8-13

Pornography: 11/12

Between the ages of 11 and 16 the facts have been put in place. It is now your job to help continue to encourage them in the truth and in pure behavior.

What If My Child Has Already Had Sex?

I really like the way the below author handles talking to a child who has already had sex:

(Parent talking to teen) "I've realized how much more I could have told you and discussed with you as you were growing up. If I'd done so, you wouldn't have had to learn as much as you have from friends or media or even from the sexual experience you've had. So first I'd like to apologize for not telling you more sooner. I love you, will you accept my apology?" How To Talk To Your Child About Sex

Ask then if you can take some time to go over the things you should have shared. This opens up a dialogue and the opportunity for you to bring it back to God. Love, grace, and forgiveness should be at the doorstep of your heart as you talk it through.

Sexual Abuse

Sadly (and sickeningly) there are many children out there who are being sexually abused. It is vital that we do our very best to protect our children from abuse, and one way is to talk about "good touching" and "bad touching." Make sure your child knows that no one is allowed to touch them in their private places or have them touch others private places. Make sure they know that even if someone makes them feel uncomfortable in any way that can say, "please stop touching me." Practice with them. Tell them they have full permission to scream at the top of their lungs if they are ever scared or being hurt. Practice screaming inside and outside the house so they feel comfortable enough to do it if they have to.

If you find out that your child has been abused, it is so important that you handle your child (or teen) with great care. Child psychiatrists say that the next worst thing to child abuse is parents who don't handle the news well. Do not make them feel guilty or ashamed. Many parents say, "why didn't you tell me?" and guilt comes into play.


HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF YOUR CHILD IS ABUSED?

By Dannah Gresh (printed with consent)


Approximately 15-25% of adult women and 5-15% of adult men were sexually abused as children. It's a frightening reality. How can you know if your child is a victim? Watch for these signs.

First, watch for a sudden and unusual interest in sex or sexual things.

Second, consider that sleeping problems or nightmares that seem to stem from nowhere could be a symptom.

Third, an unusual fear of going to a certain house, school or class is sometimes a sign that something bad has happened in that place.

Fourth, children of abuse often attempt expressions of sexual molestation in artwork or play-acting. These things can be evidence that it's time for you to dig a little deeper to see if there is something your child desperately wants to tell you, but doesn't know how.

If you do find that there is abuse present, act quickly to get your child into the care of a trained counselor who can help you and your family make good decisions about what is the best course of action. Each child and each case is different, but all of them are tender and need meticulous attention to specific needs.

Resources

How To Talk To Your child About Sex, by Linda and Richard Eyre (contains dialogues)

The Story Of Me, (God's Design For Sex Series) by Brenna Jones (ages 3-5)

Before I Was Born, (God's Design For Sex Series) by Carolyn Nystrom (ages 5-8)

Facing The Facts, (God's Design For Sex Series) by Brenna Jones (ages 11-14)

Point Man, by Steve Farrar

How To Talk With Your Children About Sex, by Whitney Hopler (article)

A Chicken's Guide To Talking Turkey With Your Kids About Sex, by Dr. Kevin Leman and Kathy Flores Bell

Tomorrow we will talk about why God created sex (did you know there are six biblical reasons God created sex?).

(All the tips I've mentioned are just suggestions. Modify how you like!)

*I'm also over At The Well today

Stay up-to-date with this series by subscribing here.

15 comments:

MoziEsmé said...

Thanks for some great advice...

ServinGsus said...

This is a such a good series, and in about five years I'll be back for a refresher. I love that you handle the "tough stuff" so well. Thanks!

Gina said...

These are great resources! Thanks again for sharing!

n*stitches said...

Great resources! Thanks!

Sheila said...

I appreciate your heart in this series, but as the mom of an almost 9 year old, to say that they need a complete description of 'how-to' at 8 just REALLY bothers me, and your suggestion to build excitement and expectation of finding out this secret stuff pretty much horrifies me. So much of this depends on the child, and what they are exposed to, but my child is not ready nor does she need to hear the details of the 'how-to' yet. And no, I'm not one of those moms who avoid this topic. I have certainly had the 'how-to' talk with my 12-year-old some time ago. You really have to spend time with your kids, talk to them, talk to them about what they talk to their friends about, talk to the parents of their friends, SO many things in order to know what they need to hear and are ready to hear. I feel very strongly that my kids need to hear this from me and to hear it from a Godly, Christian perspective, but they need to know and hear it at a point where it is emotionally and physically appropriate. You need to be tuned in, not on a schedule.

Mirinda said...

I think it's great resources and ideas. However, I think each mom should gauge their own child's readiness and exposure to possible info from the outside! My daughter is a few months away from turning 8 and is NOWHERE near a detailed sex talk! I spoke with our peditrician and she completely agreed. I think we will wait closer to nine and keep a running tab on questions that may arise!

Melissa said...

Thank GOD that I found you today!!!
I am going through some painful things, and your blog(s) have been a Godsend. I know that He's not a God of coincidence and I'm so very thankful for that!!!
There are times that I find someone on here that I just wish I could really talk to. Your entry on Loss dated 3-19 blessed me tremendously. That day was my mom's birthday. She died when I was almost 8 years old. I related, deeply, with what you are saying. I plan to send a link to that entry to some of my friends that are walking through the valley.
So glad to "meet" you!
You've blessed me; thank you for being real and transparent. That's the theme of my blog, too!
In His Love,
Melissa

Sarah Mae said...

Everything I've written in this post are just suggestions - advice I've come across. You are the parents and have to decide when and how is the best way for your family.

As far as 8 and 9 being too young, perhaps, I mean I don't know your chldren. I do know that if they are around any other children, I will bet that they know more than you think. The point of sharing with them young is to give them the accurate information in a loving way from a godly perspective. You can still share with your young child without going overboard on details. 12, in my opinion, is way too late - do you remember when you were 12? Either way, you love your children and want the best for them, so pray about it and go from there. :)

Sarah Mae said...

Oh, and around eight years old seems to be the general consesus on when is the best time to talk about sex, from everything I've read.

Sheila said...

If you read what I said carefully, I said that I had talked to my 12 year old some time ago.

Also, yes, my children are around other children in the Christian school they go to. That's why I also mentioned that it's important to talk to them about what they are talking to friends about and talking to other parents as well. I can tell you as a parent who actually has children of this age, BEING PRESENT in their lives is so much more important than what any 'expert' can tell you.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Great advice Sarah Mae and I agree with you on the age. My son is 9 and attends a very conservative Christian school but he has already heard hints of the subject (though he doesn't understand it) from 3rd graders.

Different families, even Christian families have different standards and their children may be exposed to more than your own children. They are exposed to TV, movies, magazines, websites, older sibling discussions, inappropriate teenage behavior in public, etc. and may share this information with your children. We need to prepare our children! And I think a lot of children are discussing these subjects at a much younger age than we are willing to admit to ourselves.

Sarah Mae, I know that you do so much careful research into every series that you do and not only include information from Christian and other experts, but also advice that you have sought out from godly women who have already experienced these ages and subjects. You do a great job of presenting the info as your opinion and not as the only way to do things!

Thank you so much for all the hard work you do!! Whether or not I agree with everything 100%, I fully appreciate your series!! :)

Mel said...

Thank you for posting about this subject....my son is now seven, and he is starting to ask some questions, and I'm thinking the time for "the talk" is getting closer and closer. And I know that once that initial talk is done, then it will become easier; at least, I want it to be that way....I want him to feel as if he can talk to us about this subject, anytime, and not feel like it has to be under wraps or kept quiet about. Anyway, this is so helpful and encouraging!

Mike said...

Great resources. Here's how I did it—read blog.


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.comTwitter: AboutParenting

christinnjon said...

Ugh this series is not something I really wanted to have to consider yet. But alas, I don't have a choice.

My daughter (not yet 7) has made it very clear that she is having some sort of "romantic" feelings. It wasn't by word of her mouth, but actions I observed. I'm telling you, I was not sure what I was going to say to her. The Holy Spirit just spoke right through me in a very gentle and informed way.

Parents, I'm telling you, I don't know where this is coming from. My daughter is homeschooled and all movies are monitored. There is no tv viewing of any kind (other than parent chosen dvds). She loves the Lord, yes at only 6 years old. I know the parents extremely well of all of her friends (which are just a few). In my opinion, and from my experience growing up, what she is experiencing IS normal and what I told her was that I understood. I also told her this is an area we really need to control ourselves in and really focus on God and ask Him for help (self-control) and wisdom. I invited her to please talk to me if she has any questions about anything she doesn't understand.

I'm still needing help though. I'm looking to get Dannah's materials asap.

MamaHen Em said...

Thanks for a great list of resources. I couldn't agree more that the sex talk should come from the parents and of course be tuned into our individual children. Based on how my son came to ask me what sex was (age seven - about two weeks ago a friend told him COMPLETELY wrong details) and knowing that my husband would be working late, I tackled it on my own with follow up from daddy later. Ideally he would have had it "man to man" but sometimes things aren't ideal and you do the best you can at the time. I was thankful that my husband and I had talked in detail about what that conversation would look like just the night before (which had to have been God's prompting).